When many of us think of virtual reality, the immediate association is with gaming. VR is capable of transporting us to amazing other worlds totally unlike anything we experience here on Earth. But VR can do so much more than that — as we’ve explored through previous stories looking at virtual reality as a tool for everything from treating post-traumatic stress disorder to helping people empathize with others in different life situations.
With this in mind, Los Angeles-based VR studio Embodied Labs recently developed a virtual experience intended to put users in the shoes of a person with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia in the United States. Called The Beatriz Lab: A Journey Through Alzheimer’s Disease, it’s designed as a training tool to give caregivers the ability to better understand the important role they play in the lives of those people they are looking after. The VR experience follows Beatriz, a fictitious math teacher in her 60s, who is experiencing the effects of Alzheimer’s.
“The goal behind The Beatriz Lab is to allow someone who cares for, or cares about, a person with Alzheimer’s disease to experience what life is like — not just by putting people into situations that focus on how Alzheimer’s negatively affects quality of life, but by showing them the ways that you can enjoy and find meaning in life alongside Alzheimer’s disease,” Erin Washington, co-founder at Embodied Labs, told Digital Trends. “Using the Embodied Labs application, learners are guided into putting on the headset and becoming Beatriz, experiencing what it is like to shop, go to the park, cook, bathe, talk, be in familiar places that become unfamiliar, and spend time with loved ones — all as a person whose brain is becoming increasingly entangled with amyloid beta plaque, which increasingly interferes with communication in the brain.”
Embodied Labs is offering its technology as a training tool around the world. So far, it has been used to help teach more than 2,000 caregivers across 50 organizations. The headset retails for $2,000, with a monthly subscription fee of $250 to $600, depending on the size of the organization. The team has created similar tools based around hearing and vision loss, as well as end-of-life conversations.
“So far, our subscribers come from academic institutions training doctors, nurses, physician assistants, social workers, certified nursing assistants, [and] physical therapists, in addition to long-term care facilities, home health organizations, hospices, and nonprofits,” Washington said.
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Which Amazon Echo is best for you? I have no idea. But here’s how I’d approach each one.
I own too many Amazon Echo speakers — from the original Echo to the Echo Dot and the newfangled Echo Show with its screen and camera. Plus there’s the Amazon Tap and Echo Look, which you can’t even buy without an invitation (and you probably shouldn’t but it, for reasons I’ll get into in a second).
This isn’t a cookie-cutter list of all the Echo speakers and why you should buy them. Hell, a couple I think you probably should stay away from. This is a list of how I see things after having used them all for months and months. Hit the links below to jump on down to the Echo that tickles your fancy.
- Echo Dot
- Echo Dot Kids Edition
- Echo Plus
- Echo Spot
- Echo Tap
- Echo Show
- Echo Look
Echo Dot: The best Amazon Echo for starting out
Start simple. If you’re just not sure about this whole Alexa thing and really don’t know how much you’ll get out of an Amazon Echo, it’s best to not spend a lot of money. So start with an Echo Dot!
The Echo Dot costs $49 retail, but it’s not uncommon to see it on sale for as low as $30. At that price it’s kind of a no-brainer. Buy one and give it a go.
Another pro tip here is to buy more than one at a time. Amazon typically has deals if you buy multiple Echoes Dot at one time — $20 is the usual savings. So if you’re like me and you know you’ll want to stash a few of these around the house, save yourself a few bucks and take advantage.
See at Amazon
The redesigned Amazon Echo: A great mid-range option
Amazon has completely redesigned the basic Echo for 2017. It’s shorter than the original, squatter in nature, and you can get one clad in fabric for $99. That’s not a bad buy, and it’s what I’d recommend for someone who wants to get something better than the Dot, but still not spend more than a hundred bucks. The sound quality is decent for that price. Can you get something better? Yeah. But not for less money.
If you want to spend a little more, though, $119 will get you a new Echo with a wood veneer, or in matte plastic. I’ve found the fabric version to be plenty good, though.
See at Amazon
Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition: You know, for kids
Amazon has a new Echo Dot that is made especially for kids. Really, it’s a perfectly ordinary Echo Dot that comes with a nice little case (because kids apparently will be prone to breaking these sorts of things that aren’t really meant to be moved in the first place) — and a free year’s access to Amazon Freetime Unlimited.
That’s the part that actually justifies the $70 price tag, which is $20 more than the Echo Dot at retail, and $30 more when it’s on sale. Amazon Freetime Unlimited gives you (and your kid) access to a whole bunch of kid-friendly content, including books, music, games, and more. Plus parents get access to the Amazon Parent Dashboard, which lets you set how long the kid can use any of this newfangled tech. It’ll also block non-kid-friendly content, shut off the Echo Dot at bedtime, and teach your kids to remember to say please and thank-you to not-quite-sentient tech (we have a feeling that’ll be more important than we realize).
See at Amazon
Amazon Echo Plus: The best-sounding Echo yet
Amazon decided to keep the tried and true Echo design, but give it better internals. That gives us the $149 Echo Plus. It sounds a little better than the previous-generation Echo, and definitely better than the current 2017 model. It comes in the same matte plastic, but now you can get silver in addition to black and white.
Also new for the Echo Plus is the ability to serve as a smart home hub — if the devices you’re looking to support use Zigbee to connect (you’re forgiven if you don’t know what Zigbee is — it’s not something an end user should ever have to worry about). It likely won’t solve all your smart home problems, but it’s a nice little addition nonetheless.
See at Amazon
Amazon Echo Spot: An expensive, but cool, bedside Echo
If you take the Echo Show and shrink it down, this is what you’d get. It’s a $99 Echo clock with a decent (but not overly great) speaker and a 2.5-inch display. You’ll get the time, of course, along with weather information and the same semi-useful headlines as on the Echo Show. Plus it’ll make phone calls and video chat with other Spots or Shows. (Yes, that means there’s a camera pointed into your bedroom.)
This is a great-looking device. It’s fun. And $99 is the right price for it.
See at Amazon
Amazon Tap: Smaller, portable, expensive
This isn’t officially an “Echo” device, but whatever. It does 99 percent of the same stuff. But — and this is something of which you should be aware — it’s no longer available first-party from Amazon, but you can get a refurbished model for $70.
The Tap has a charging base that allows you to just pick up the speaker and take it wherever you want. It sounds decent — not great, but good. Good enough for $129 retail, though? Eh, now Amazon is starting to ask a lot — particularly when you can get a portable battery base for the original Echo for just $50 and get a much better speaker for your troubles. Or you could stick an Echo Dot in this little cordless speaker and get a decent experience — again, for just $50.
Personally, I don’t really see the necessity of a portable Alexa speaker — especially since the speaker itself needs to be connected to the Internet at all times for the Alexa stuff to work. And hotspotting to your phone just isn’t something I want to bother with.
Your money probably is better off with any other Echo — or just a traditional Bluetooth speaker.
See at Amazon
Echo Show: Will it ever get better?
I was an early fan of the Echo Show — the potential for an Alexa-enabled device with a large touchscreen is enormous. Unfortunately, it’s yet to pan out in the first few months. The headlines you get are pure fluff, with very little actual news, if ever and Amazon says it’s done this on purpose.
Then Google decided to not let YouTube videos play on the Echo Show — likely because Amazon’s implementation was doing so without advertising. That killed one of the few reasons I’d actually recommend the Echo Show.
And then there’s the fact that very few Alexa Skills actually take advantage of the display in the first place. It’s a novelty at this point, not a necessity, even though making video calls on the Echo Show is still a great experience.
All that said — the Echo Show normally is $229. If you can pick it up on sale, do it.
See at Amazon
Echo Look: How much do you care about what you wear?
There’s a pretty good chance you shouldn’t buy the Echo Look. Unless you really care about fashion — to the point that you want to take a picture of what you’re wearing and send it to Amazon for cataloging and analysis — then you’ll just want to ignore this. For that’s what Echo Look is good at. It’s got a camera and its own app for taking your picture from head to toe, and it does a nice job of highlighting you while downplaying everything else.
From there it lets you flip back through what you’ve worn day after day, and you can have it compare two outfits and decide which it thinks looks better on you (to varying degrees of success, I found).
You very much will get out of Echo Look what you put into it. I don’t care so much about what I’m wearing, so this wasn’t really $200 well spent for me. Your wardrobe mileage may vary.
And in case you missed it, the $199 Echo Look has graduated from invite status and is now available for anyone to purchase.
See at Amazon
Which Echo do you prefer?
Anything we missed? Sound off in the comments below.
Updated August 2018: Updated pricing and availability.
- Tap, Echo or Dot: The ultimate Alexa question
- All about Alexa Skills
- Amazon Echo review
- Echo Dot review
- Echo Spot review
- Top Echo Tips & Tricks
- Amazon Echo vs. Google Home
- Get the latest Alexa news
See at Amazon
New Amazon Prime Originals abound, including Pete the Cat and Shakespeare’s King Lear.
Summer’s just about over, but the fall TV schedule is just heating up. September sees the return of the NFL on Amazon Prime Video on Thursday nights, starting with the Minnesota Vikings at the L.A. Rams on Sept. 27. Earlier in the month, however, we’ll see a slew of Amazon Prime Originals, including the return of kid-favorite Pete the Cat, and the premiere of Forever, from Emmy-winning writers Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard.
And there’s a world of your favorite movies and TV series coming to Amazon Prime Video, free with your Prime subscription. The Original Ghostbusters is back, as is the excellent 2006 adaptation of Miami Vice.
Get a free Amazon Prime trial today!
Here’s more on the Amazon Prime Originals coming in September:
- Six Dreams S1: The Prime Original series is a behind-the-scenes look at Spain’s top football league, LaLiga. It follows six contrasting storylines revolving around three players, one coach, one sports director and a club president from various teams, who all offer unique insights into the daily challenges of professional football. Six Dreams will be available in HDR and UHD on compatible HDR devices. (Sep. 7)
- Wishenpoof S2b: The Prime Original series chronicles the life of Bianca and her magical power of making wishes come true. This season, Bianca learns how to care for others when her best friend teddy bear gets sick and helps the community fix its favorite slide at the local playground. More sing-along music and Wish Magic adventures await, including a family camping trip to Mt. Wishmore and a special dinner with Bianca’s grandmas. (Sep. 7)
- Pete the Cat S1a: The Prime Original series is based on The New York Times #1 best-selling children’s books about exploring your world and trying new things while being smart, accepting, and optimistic. Whether you’re making new friends, or facing all of life’s ups and downs, Pete highlights the groovy lessons life can teach you. (Sep. 7)
- Forever S1: The Prime Original series created by Emmy Award-winning writers Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard follows a married couple living a comfortable, but predictable suburban life. For 12 years they haven’t changed their daily routine, but when they decide to shake things up with a ski trip, the pair finds themselves in completely unfamiliar territory. Forever will be available in HDR and UHD on compatible HDR devices. (Sep. 14)
- King Lear S1: The Prime Original series is a Shakespeare tragedy set in the fictional present and follows King Lear’s gradual descent into madness after he disposes of his kingdom, giving bequests to two of his three daughters based on their flattery of him and with terrible consequences for all. King Lear will be available in HDR and UHD on compatible HDR devices. (Air date to be determined.)
Here’s what else is coming up on Amazon Prime Video in September 2018:
New series on Amazon Prime Video on September 1
- Asylum, Season 1
- The Blue Rose, Season 1
- The Broker’s Man, Seasons 1-2
- The Field of Blood, Seasons 1-2
- Golden, Season 1
- The Kevin Bishop Show, Season 2
- London Irish, Season 1
- The Palace, Season 1
- Parents, Season 1
- Rocket’s Island, Seasons 1-3
- Sam’s Game, Season 1
- Texas Rising, Season 1
- The Triangle, Season 1
- Trust, Season 1
- Westside, Seasons 1-3
- Wild at Heart, Seasons 1-8
New movies on Amazon Prime Video on September 1
- 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)
- A Field in England (2013)
- A Good Woman (2006)
- A Love Song for Bobby Long (2004)
- A Murder of Crows (1999)
- A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures (2010)
- A Turtle’s Tale 2: Sammy’s Escape from Paradise (2012)
- All You Can Eat Buddha (2017)
- Bandits (2001)
- Beowulf (2007)
- Big Top Pee-wee (1988)
- Blow Out (1981)
- Bolero (1984)
- Can’t Stand Losing You: Surviving the Police (2012)
- Chinatown (1974)
- Cool It (2010)
- Double Impact (1991)
- DragonHeart (1996)
- Dressed to Kill (1980)
- Fall Time (1993)
- Fighting Temptations (2003)
- Ghostbusters (1984)
- Ghostbusters II (1989)
- Going Overboard (1989)
- Gutland (2017)
- Hard Rain (1998)
- Harry and Paul’s History of the 2s (2014)
- Harry Price: Ghost Hunter (2015)
- Hotel for Dogs (2009)
- House of D (2004)
- Hustle & Flow (2005)
- Ingenious (2009)
- Jerry Maguire (1996)
- Joyride (1997)
- Kill Me Again (1989)
- Lea to the Rescue (2016)
- Luk’Luk’I (2017)
- Miami Vice (2006)
- Over the Top (1987)
- Paycheck (2003)
- Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)
- Prancer (1989)
- Primal Fear (1996)
- Pumpkinhead (1988)
- Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings (1994)
- Resurrecting the Champ (2007)
- Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
- Roger Dodger (2002)
- Rustlers’ Rhapsody (1985)
- Senorita Justice (2004)
- Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
- Small Town Saturday Night (2010)
- Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
- Stealth Fighter (1999)
- The Amityville Horror (1979)
- The Dark Half (1993)
- The Eagle (2011)
- The Great Outdoors (1988)
- The Longest Yard (1974)
- The Man Who Lost His Head (2007)
- The Perfect Weapon (1991)
- The Score (2001)
- There Will Be Blood (2007)
- Tonightly (2008)
- What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
New movie on September 2
- Future World (2018)
New movies on September 4
- Beirut (2018)
- Crescent (2017)
- Strangers Prey at Night (2018)
New movies on September 6
- Pistorius (2018)
New series on Sept. 7
- Pete the Cat, Season 1a (Prime Original series)
- Six Dreams, Season 1 (Prime Original series)
- Wishenpoof, Season 2b (Prime Original series)
New Movie on September 7
- Cesar Chavez (2014)
New Movies on September 8
- From Paris with Love (2009)
- Stronger (2017)
New movie on September 12
- Grace Unplugged (2014)
New series on September 14
- Forever, Season 1 (Prime Original series)
New movie on September 14
- High Fantasy (2017)
New movie on September 15
- On Chesil Beach (2018)
New movies on September 16
- Baby Mama (2008)
- I Am Wrath (2016)
- The Good Shepherd (2006)
New movies on September 20
- Jugnu (1973)
- This is Home: A Refugee Story (2018)
New movies on September 21
- My Little Pony (2017)
New movies on September 22
- For Colored Girls (2010)
- Hot Summer Night (2018)
New movies on September 27
- Escape Plan 2 (2018)
New movies on September 28
- Hannah (2017)
- Plonger (Diving) (2017)
- Suburbicon (2017)
New movie on September 29
- Jigsaw (2017)
New to purchase on Prime Video in September
- Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom (2018)
- Uncle Drew (2018)
- This Is Us, Season 3, NBC
- Modern Family, Season 10, ABC
- Grey’s Anatomy, Season 14, ABC
- The Good Place, Season 3, NBC
Available for Streaming on Prime Video Channels
- UFC 228: “Woodley vs Till,” UFC
- Kidding, Season 1, Showtime
- Shameless, Season 9, Showtime
- AVP – Honolulu
- Warriors of Liberty City, Mini-Series, Starz
- Laver Cup – Chicago
- Magnum PI, Season 1, CBS All Access
- FBI, Season 1, CBS All Access
- Murphy Brown, Season 1, CBS All Access
- Thursday Night Football: Minnesota Vikings vs Los Angeles Rams, Game 4, Prime Video
- God Friended Me, Season 1, CBS All Access
- The hardware you need
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- What channels are on which service
- FREE over-the-air TV
- How to watch sports
- Join the discussion
Get the latest deals
This discount won’t last long!
Amazon currently Fire TV Cube streaming media player for $89.99 today as part of Amazon’s off to college deals. This matches the pre-order discount that Amazon ran when it first announced the hardware and its Prime Day pricing.
CordCutters did a full review of the Fire TV Cube. Essentially, imagine the way you use an Echo Dot now to control all the wirelessly connected appliances around your home. Then imagine that control plugged into your TV so you can control everything plugged in there with your voice as well. That’s what you get with this new device. It’s a way to turn on the TV, play your favorite DVD, adjust the volume on your home audio system, dim the lights, and get your microwave to cook some popcorn all without moving from the best spot on the couch.
This is just one of the many items on sale right now. Be sure to check them all out now!
See at Amazon
Here’s the lowdown on one of 2018’s most powerful smartphones 💥
It’s finally here. After relentless leaks, rumors, and more, Samsung’s finally unveiled the Galaxy Note 9.
Even though we already knew a lot about the phone prior to its official announcement, there’s still plenty to talk about. What colors does it come in? What are the final specs? Were we impressed during our hands-on preview?
All those questions and more are answered right here, so without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
The latest Galaxy Note 9 news
August 17, 2018 — Galaxy Note 9 already getting a software update that adds August 2018 security patch and more slow-mo video options
The Note 9 won’t officially be released until Augst 24, but even so, Samsung’s already pushing a software update to the phone that adds a couple goodies.
This update changes the software version number to N960FXXU1ARH5 and allows users to record Super Slow-Mo video for moments that last either 0.2 seconds or 0.4 seconds when in manual mode. 0.2-second shots are still in glorious 960 FPS while 0.4-second ones are limited to 480 FPS.
Additionally, this update also brings the more recent August 2018 security patch.
August 15, 2018 — Samsung talks about what it took to make the Note 9 so darn pretty 😍
It’s no secret that Samsung makes stunning phones, and with the Galaxy Note 9, the company put all of its design prowess on full display. However, as much fun as it is to look at and hold the Note 9, it’s even more exciting to take a closer look at just what goes into crafting a device of its caliber.
Samsung’s Infinity Display is once again being used on the Note 9, and measuring in at 6.4-inches, is the biggest the company’s created to-date. Samsung also says that the Note 9’s screen is an ever deeper black compared to past handsets, which “allows it to blend in with the bezels when the device is off and enhances the overall aesthetic.”
A process called Die-cutting was used to craft the Note 9’s frame, and as a result of this laborious process, the frame of the Note 9 ” features an interplay of glossy and matte finishes that complements the Galaxy Note9’s premium design cues.”
To read more about the Note 9’s design and the time/attention that went into its S Pen, check out Samsung’s full deep dive below.
Beautiful From Every Angle: The Design of the Galaxy Note 9
All the big details
Check out our hands-on preview
Before you do anything else, be sure to check out our initial hands-on preview of the Galaxy Note 9!
This is Samsung’s biggest and most powerful phone of the year, and during our early look, we got a chance to check out the Note 9’s design, new S Pen features, cameras, and more.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 hands-on preview: $1000 well spent
Here are the specs
Like past Notes before it, the Galaxy Note 9 is packed to the gills with all of the latest available tech. That means it has the latest processor, a massive battery, an insane amount of RAM, and much more.
Here are all the specs you can look forward to.
|Operating system||Android 8.1 OreoSamsung Experience 9.5|
|Display||6.4-inch Super AMOLED, 2960×1440 (18.5:9)|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845|
|Expandable||MicroSD up to 2TB|
|Primary rear camera||12MP Super Speed Dual Pixel, OIS, f/1.5 or f/2.4|
|Secondary rear camera||12MP, OIS, f/2.4, telephoto lens|
|Front camera||8MP, f/1.7, auto focus|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11ac MIMO, 1.2Gbps (Cat-18) LTE, Bluetooth 5.0 LEANT+, NFC, GPS, Glonass|
|Audio||Stereo speakersDolby Atmos3.5mm headphone|
|Security||One-touch fingerprint sensorIris scannerSamsung KNOX|
|Colors||Ocean Blue, Lavender Purple (U.S.)Midnight Black, Metallic Copper (intl)|
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 specifications
Should you upgrade from the Note 8?
As exciting as the Galaxy Note 9 is shaping up to be, last year’s Note 8 is still one heck of a smartphone.
The Note 9 offers the expected improvements in regards to RAM, camera performance, etc., but really gets a strong edge over its predecessor thanks to its improved S Pen and a massive battery.
Then again, if you already have the Note 8 and don’t feel like throwing down $900 (?) on a new phone, maybe upgrading isn’t the right move for you?
Let Andrew break everything down for you in his comparison of the Note 8 and Note 9
How’s it compare to other phones?
That’s fine and dandy, but how’s the Note 9 hold up against other non-Note devices?
Without a doubt, one of the Note 9’s biggest competitors comes from Samsung itself with the Galaxy S9+. A lot of features are shared between the two phones, including a large Super AMOLED display, Snapdragon 845, Samsung’s custom software, excellent dual cameras, and more.
The Note 9 is obviously the only one of the two that uses the S Pen, but is that reason enough to make the pricey upgrade?
Similarly, there are still plenty of other phones that are scheduled to come out before 2018 is over — most importantly the Google Pixel 3 XL. Rumors and leaks are hinting at a phone with considerably slimmer bezels, an even better camera package, and an all-glass back (not to mention the ginormous notch).
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs. Galaxy S9+
Should you buy the Galaxy Note 9 or wait for the Google Pixel 3 XL?
A lot is new with the S Pen
The S Pen is easily the biggest reason so many people flock to the Note series year after year, and this time around, Samsung’s giving the S Pen one of its biggest upgrades in years.
For the first time, Samsung’s adding Bluetooth Low Energy to the S Pen. With this new connectivity, the S Pen picks up a heap of new features that allow you to control the Note 9 from a distance.
Some use cases include being able to use the S Pen and its button as a camera shutter, navigating through presentations, and more. The presence of Bluetooth also means this is the first S Pen to have a battery, and as with all things that have a battery, the S Pen will need to be charged.
Thankfully, seeing as how the S Pen seamlessly charges in the background when stored inside the Note 9, this shouldn’t ever prove to be an issue of any sort.
Get the official wallpapers right here!
New Samsung phones always come with striking wallpapers to help jazz up your home screen, and even if you don’t have the funds/interest to get a Note 9 right now, you can still bring its look to your exisitng handset with its official wallpapers.
We’ve got all 12 listed above for your viewing pleasure, and if you want to throw one (or all) of them on your phone, feel free to download ’em as you see fit.
What color should you get?
Samsung’s typically one of the better OEMs when it comes to offering a good variety of colors, and with the Note 9, that’s no different.
In the United States, buyers will be able to choose from Ocean Blue and Lavender Purple. In other parts of the world, Samsung’s releasing Midnight Black and Metallic Copper.
Which color Galaxy Note 9 should I buy: Blue, purple, gold, or black?
Don’t forget about the cases!
The Note 9 has a striking design that combines metal and glass into one gorgeous package, but as great as the phone might look, it’s certainly not the most durable handset you’ll find.
Thankfully, to help keep your Note 9 looking as good as can be through all sorts of wear and tear, there are already a number of cases being sold.
Here are our favorites!
Best Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Cases
Here’s everything you need to know about buying the Note 9
There are a lot of reasons you may want to pick up the Note 9, and whatever those reasons may be, you’ve got a lot of options for deciding where to get it.
In the United States, pricing starts at $999.99 for the 128GB model and goes up to $1249.99 for the 512GB one. You can get the phone at Best Buy, Amazon, Samsung’s website, all of the major carriers, and more.
However, there are some questions that pop up when thinking about buying the Note 9. Should you buy it unlocked or through a carrier? What storage size is the best to pick up? You’ve got the questions, we’ve got answers.
Where to buy the Galaxy Note 9: Best deals for your new phone
Should you buy the Galaxy Note 9 unlocked or from a carrier?
Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Which storage size should I buy?
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9 review
- Galaxy Note 9 vs. Note 8
- Where to buy the Galaxy Note 9
- Galaxy Note 9 specifications
- Is the Note 8 still a good buy?
- Join our Galaxy Note 9 forums
Updated August 16, 2018: Updated this guide with a news-roll and the latest available info!
Whether you’re looking for new tech gear or household items, we’ve got you covered.
We found plenty of great deals today that include big discounts on tons of Amazon hardware, Epson’s 1080p home cinema projector, Sennheiser’s open-back headphones, and more!
View the rest of the deals
If you want to know about the deals as soon as they are happening, you’ll want to follow Thrifter on Twitter, and sign up for the newsletter, because missing out on a great deal stinks!
For something that’s supposed to be clear and subtle, these cases have certainly found a way to stand out.
The Galaxy S9 and S9+, are simply outstanding. Truly, this is a phone that you want to show off, but since it’s essentially made of glass, you’re going to want to cover the breakable bits with a case. Never fear, clear cases are here!
There are a lot of ways to do a clear case, and whether you want one that shines bright like a diamond or one that’s as tough as one, there’s a clear case here for you.
- Spigen Ultra Hybrid Clear Case
- Catalyst Impact Protection Case
- Spigen Liquid Crystal Case Series
- Ringke Fusion Clear Case
- Caseology Skyfall Series Clear Case
- Zizo ION Series Clear Case
Spigen Ultra Hybrid Case
Best clear case
- $11.99 (S9) at Amazon
- $12.99 (S9+) at Amazon
Sometimes, a clear case just goes beyond.
The Spigen Ultra Hybrid is a single-layer case that melds a strengthened silicone bumper with a diamond-hard and crystal-clear polycarbonate back for the best of both worlds: a case with a lot of protection without much bulk or much trouble getting your phone in or out.
Spigen’s Neo Hybrid case is our favorite Samsung Galaxy S9 case at the moment, but if you want a clear case that’s durable and shines like a diamond in the rough, be Plus Ultra! and get the Ultra Hybrid instead of the Neo Hybrid Crystal. This case stands up fabulously to everyday wear and tear, works with phone grips and wireless charging effortlessly, and it seems to hold up better against smudges, smears and grime than its competitors.
This being a single-layer case, the Ultra Hybrid feels slimmer in the hand, and the buttons are solid, and this clear case won’t go sliding around willy-nilly on you like a lot of clear cases out there. The bumpers here are a matte color rather than a metallic, which just helps the back of the phone and the phone inside look even shiner by comparison.
Catalyst Impact Protection Case
- $39.99 (S9) at Amazon
- $39.99 (S9+) at Amazon
Finally making the jump from iPhone accessories to Android, Catalyst’s first Samsung case looks great, has incredibly tactile buttons, and offers fantastic protection from all angles without making the S9 overly bulky. This case also comes with a lanyard for a little extra insurance against dropping your phone, and the bold accents around the camera and fingerprint sensor add a wonderful pop of contrast to the back of the phone.
Spigen Liquid Crystal Case Series
- $10.99 (S9 Clear) at Amazon
- $9.99 (S9+ Clear) at Amazon
Spigen’s Liquid Crystal series of cases are a lightweight delight for the S9 that come in three flavors: traditional crystal Clear, nature-inspired Blossom, and glimmering Glitter, which lets the bold Samsung branding shine through while obscuring scuffs, smudges, and identifying information of the back of the phone. No matter the style, each Liquid Crystal case is a breeze to apply and work perfectly with phone grips.
Caseology Skyfall Series Clear Case
- $13.99 (S9) at Amazon
- $13.99 (S9+) at Amazon
Featuring a durable ultra clear cover to protect the back of your phone along with a protective bumper frame (available in colors to match your device), Skyfall’s slim case will perfectly accent your phone and keep it protected without distracting from the phone itself.
Ringke Fusion Clear Case
- $10.99 (S9) at Amazon
- $10.99 (S9+) at Amazon
The best way to protect your phone from drop damage is to not drop your phone, so Ringke’s Fusion case includes a handy, built-in wrist strap. Whether or not you want to use the wrist strap is up to you, but it’s a thoughtful addition to a case that’s as easy on the eyes as it is to use all day and all night.
Zizo ION Series Clear Case
- $13.99 (S9) at Amazon
- $13.99 (S9+) at Amazon
Need a clear case that doesn’t skimp on protection? With the Zizo ION Series, you get a rugged polycarbonate bumper hugging a flexible TPU shell, and Zizo includes a complementary tempered glass screen protector with each case so the front and back glass are safely secured against scratches and some shattering impacts. The color options aren’t quite as well color-matched to the S9, but they have a style all their own.
What are your favorite clear case options?
Eyeing any of the cases on our list? Got a favorite that didn’t make the cut? Let us know in the comments!
Updated August 2018: After a summer of testing and trying clear case after clear case, these are the absolute best you can buy for your Samsung Galaxy S9 or S9+.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+
- Galaxy S9 and S9+: Everything you need to know!
- Galaxy S9 review: A great phone for the masses
- Complete Galaxy S9 and S9+ specs
- Galaxy S9 vs. Galaxy S8: Should you upgrade?
- Join our Galaxy S9 forums
The gadget is being developed exclusively for China.
Thanks to devices like the Google Home and Amazon Echo, smart speakers have exploded in popularity over the last couple years. We’ve seen companies like Apple, Sony, and Lenovo try their own hand at this market, and according to a report from AndroidPure, Motorola’s now gearing up to launch its first smart speaker.
Currently named the “Moto AI”, the speaker is being designed specifically with the Chinese market in mind and is powered by Baidu’s DuerOS rather than Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. Like other smart speakers, you’ll be able to use the Moto AI to find out stock prices, current news, weather, stream music, create reminders/timers, etc.
Along with all the above features, the Moto AI will feature a kids mode that’ll automatically be turned on if it detects that a child is speaking to it. There will also be integrations with other companies such as Lifesmart, Haier, and more.
On the technical side of things, the Moto AI weighs 280 grams, has a diameter of 90mm, supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and is powered by an ARM 53 Cortex processor.
There’s currently no word on pricing or if the speaker will ever make its way out of China, but either way, it’s interesting to see Motorola finally make the plunge in this market.
Lenovo Smart Display review: Google Assistant’s best face
Everything we know about what’ll likely be one of the year’s best phones.
Google first introduced its Pixel series in 2016, and since then, has been hard at work to establish itself as a serious player in the smartphone market. Google may be one of the most powerful and iconic companies in the world, but when it comes to hardware, is still very much a newcomer.
We saw vast improvements with the Pixel 2 compared to the original Pixel line, and we’re expecting to get that again with the Pixel 3. Google’s quickly learning what it takes to compete with the likes of Samsung and Apple, and seeing as how the Pixel 2 was one of 2017’s best phones, there’s a lot riding on this year’s entry.
Ladies and gentlemen, here’s everything we know so far about the Google Pixel 3.
The latest Pixel 3 news
August 17, 2018 — Pixel 3 XL and its unforgiving notch pop up in Toronto
Surprise, surprise — another Pixel 3 XL leak!
A reader of the Canadian tech site MobileSyrup recently snapped the above photo while riding a streetcar in Toronto. As you can see, the phone shown in the picture appears to be none other than the Google Pixel 3 XL.
While Google’s yet to formally unveil the phone, the device lines up with everything else we’ve seen so far. It’s running Android P, has a chin below the display, and its large notch is impossible to miss.
This photo doesn’t reveal anything we didn’t already know about the phone, but the fact that Google’s got people using these out in the wild confirms that we’re not too far off from an official launch.
August 10, 2018 — Another hands-on video shows the Pixel 3 XL in use while also confirming some specs
The same person that shared those Pixel 3 XL photos and unboxing video from a couple days ago has returned with yet another video that reveals even more about the phone.
In this video, we can see the Pixel 3 XL actually being used. It’s running Android 9 Pie (no surprise there) and appears to have the same UI of the Pixel and Pixel 2 running the new software.
A couple benchmarks results are also shown during the video, and as such, a handful of specs have been confirmed. They include:
- 1440 x 2960 screen resolution
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor w/ Adreno 630 GPU
- 3,430 mAh battery
- 12.2MP rear camera
- 8.1MP front-facing camera (x3)
The most interesting of those specs are the front-facing cameras. Antutu lists three 8.1MP sensors up front, although in the video we can only see two. This could be nothing more than a glitch in the app, or Google could have implemented some sort of mystery camera up there. We really aren’t sure about that one.
August 8, 2018 — Pixel 3 XL appears in more hands-on photos and unboxing video
Previous renders and real-world pictures have already given us a clear look at the Pixel 3 XL’s design, and to help make that image as clear as humanly possible, SlashLeaks recently shared three additional hands-on photos and an unboxing video of the phone.
One of the photos shows the back of the white Pixel 3 XL while the other two showcase the front. We once again see that Google will be sticking with just one rear camera and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, and unfortunately, that notch hasn’t shrunk at all since the last time we saw it.
Moving over to the unboxing video, it’s apparent that Google’s using very similar packaging compared to the Pixel 2 and 2 XL. The box does contain a pair of wired USB-C earbuds in addition to the Pixel 3 XL, but seeing as how Google experimented with this idea for last year’s release, we aren’t entirely sure if the free buds will stick around for the final retail packaging.
August 6, 2018 — October 4 launch date leaked for the Pixel 3
While we’ve seen plenty of leaked renders and specs for the Pixel 3, talk about its release date has been fairly quiet. That is, up until now. As spotted by Brandon Lee from the YouTube channel This is Tech Today, the Pixel 3 is shown to be released on October 4 according to the website Famebit.
Famebit is a website that allows companies to connect with content creators and work out deals to create sponsored content for YouTube videos, Instagram posts, etc. An ad on the site was recently created by Google and asks for Canadian creators to switch to the Pixel 3 and then making a video talking about their experience.
In this listing, it’s stated that “The Pixel 3 phone is launching October 4, 2018.”
While there’s no way to confirm if this ad really was created by Google, that October 4 date is what we were previously expecting anyways. That’s the same day Google used to announce the Pixel and Pixel 2 before, so it makes sense that it’d keep the trend going this year.
July 30, 2018 — Clearly White Google Pixel 3 XL shows up in new leak
We just got our best look at the Google Pixel 3 XL courtesy of XDA. The images in question show off the Clearly White color option, and the live photos confirm a cutout at the front and a single rear camera. We can also make out a single speaker located below the display.
The XDA leak once again reaffirms the presence of a glass back on the Pixel 3 XL, with the finish alternating between glossy and matte. A glass back opens up the possibility for wireless charging, but for now there’s no further information as to whether the feature will make its way to the device.
July 28, 2018 — ‘Pixel Stand’ could be a wireless charger for the upcoming Pixels
A teardown of the Google app by the folks at XDA has served up interesting information. The code references something called a Pixel Stand, leading to suggestions that it will be a wireless charging dock for the upcoming Pixels.
According to XDA, the Pixel Stand will feature Assistant integration, and will be able to offer personalized suggestions and answer queries when the phone is docked.
June 27, 2018 — Pixel 3 and 3 XL renders show the phones from every possible angle
As if previous leaks of the Pixel 3 and 3 XL haven’t been revealing enough, MySmartPrice teamed up with OnLeaks to share a boatload of both photo and video renders of the two phones.
These renders confirm a lot of what we’ve previously seen, including things like an all-glass back for both phones, single rear cameras, and a notch on the larger Pixel 3 XL.
However, while earlier rumors suggested that only the 3 XL would have two front-facing cameras, these renders show that the regular Pixel 3 will have them, too.
The Pixel 3’s display is said to measure in at 5.4-inches with an 18:9 aspect ratio, whereas the Pixel 3 XL will have a 6.2-inch screen and 19:9 setup. As for the dimensions, we’re looking at 145.6 x 68.2 x 7.9mm for the Pixel 3 and 158 x 76.6 x 7.9mm for the 3 XL.
June 18, 2018 — Case render confirms Pixel 3 XL design
Ice Universe on Twitter has built up a reputation for being pretty accurate about leaks/rumors in the mobile space, and on June 18, they shared a case render that further confirms the Pixel 3 XL’s design.
Like we saw with the hands-on photos on June 7 and 8, the Pixel 3 XL will have a notch in its screen, dual front-facing cameras, stereo speakers, rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, and a single rear camera.
It’s peculiar that Google’s choosing to use two cameras on the front while keeping just one on the back, but based on how excellent the Pixel 2’s single rear camera is, I don’t expect this will be a downside at all.
June 8, 2018 — Pixel 3 XL shown off in six more hands-on pictures
Less than a day after those first two hands-on photos of the Pixel 3 XL surfaced, six more have appeared.
These additional photos showcase the Pixel 3 XL from every possible angle, and when XDA Developers reached out to their forum member that shared them, they were able to confirm that the phone has a full glass back. In other words, it’s possible this year’s Pixel line may finally adopt wireless charging.
The front and back photos are pretty similar compared to what we saw yesterday, but the other images showcase a reflective glass frame around the phone, volume rocker and power/lock button on the right side, and a USB-C port and SIM slot on the bottom.
Also, as 9to5Google pointed out, that mysterious logo on the back of the Pixel 3 XL was used previously with old Pixel 2 prototypes.
June 7, 2018 — Hands-on photos apparently showcase a Pixel 3 XL prototype
Out of the blue, XDA Senior Member meraz9000 shared two photos on the XDA Forums showing what’s supposed to be a prototype of the Pixel 3 XL. There’s obviously no way we can confirm whether or not this is the real deal, but it sure does line up with the display panels that were leaked last month.
The photos show the Pixel 3 XL from both the front and back, with the front reiterating the point that the 3 XL will more than likely have a notch in its screen. For what it’s worth, it does look like we’ll be getting two front-facing cameras and a chin at the bottom to retain stereo front-facing speakers.
Around back, this Pixel 3 XL prototype looks nearly identical to that of the Pixel 2 XL. The glass panel seems to be ever-so-slightly smaller, but that could just be the way the photo was taken.
In any case, what do you think about how the Pixel 3 XL is shaping up?
June 4, 2018 — Google’s apparently working on a mid-range Pixel phone
According to one tipster, Google’s in the process of developing a mid-range Pixel phone that’s codenamed “Bonito” and is powered by the Snapdragon 710 processor.
Rumors of a mid-range Pixel first popped up in April, but the old claim of it launching this July has since been replaced with a release scheduled for the first half of 2019.
That would suggest that Google may launch this new Pixel phone during I/O next year, but with so much discrepancy surrounding the release date, it’s entirely possible it’ll be announced alongside the Pixel 3 in October.
May 30, 2018 (part 2) — Verizon is said to be the exclusive carrier for the Pixel 3, again 😕
A report from Bloomberg recently surfaced confirming a few details about Google’s upcoming phones per a source that’s familiar with their production. According to the report:
- The Pixel 3 series will once again be exclusive to Verizon Wireless in the U.S.
- A notch will be present on the larger Pixel 3 XL
- Google will announce/launch the phones in October
- Foxconn will manufacture the Pixel 3/3 XL
- Stereo speakers will be present on both phones
- The Pixel 3 XL will have dual front-facing cameras
- “Both models will include upgraded, single-lens cameras on the back”
May 30, 2018 — LG will reportedly manufacture the Pixel 3 XL’s OLED display
Just a couple days after the Pixel 3 XL’s notched panel leaked, a report’s come out of Korea claiming that Google will once again use LG to manufacture and supply an OLED screen for the phone.
Furthermore, an official from LG Display that remains anonymous said, “We have maintained close ties with Google and the volume will not be much different from the previous one (the Pixel 2 XL).”
If this turns out to be true, one can only hope that LG’s improved the quality of its mobile panels since last year. The LG-made Pixel 2 XL display was the center of a lot of controversy for the phone’s first few weeks out in the wild, and Google really can’t afford to go through that again with gen-three.
What do you think about LG making the Pixel 3 XL’s display?
May 28, 2018 — The Pixel 3 goes 2:1 and the Pixel 3 XL gets a notch
Here’s an interesting leak that, while not necessarily all-telling, gives us an indication of where Google is taking the series in 2018. Specifically, the larger Pixel 3 XL looks to have a notch while the smaller Pixel 3, though moving to a 2:1 aspect ratio, will lack one. At the same time, we see some sensors that may indicate Google is adding either a second front camera to the phones or, more likely, some sort of dedicated biometric sensor for faster/more reliable face unlock.
The leak comes from Weibo (by way of Slashleaks) and reportedly shows two front glass panels for the new phones. Given that we’re almost in June, this would be the time for accessory makers to begin testing products for the final phone design. It’s also good to see Google maintaining dual front-facing speakers for the lineup.
What do you think of this latest leak?
May 10, 2018 — The Pixel 3 could be joined by second-gen Pixel Buds and a Pixel Watch
Google’s hardware events surround the Pixel phones with a heap of other product announcements, and this year, it’s reported that we’ll see a second-gen version of Pixel Buds and Google’s first Pixel-branded smartwatch.
Specifics on these gadgets are still up in the air, and as excited as I am to see how Google improves its wireless earbud game, I’m beyond ecstatic to see how the company’s first smartwatch turns out.
Wear OS is in an awkward stage right now, but a proper Pixel Watch and new silicon from Qualcomm could bring it back into the limelight. Assuming Google handles this right, the Apple Watch may soon be faced with some of its stiffest competition yet.
When will the Pixel 3 be released?
In 2016 and 2017, Google held its hardware event on October 4. We don’t have a concrete date for this year’s event quite yet, but there’s no reason to believe Google will deter from this pattern.
Another October 4 event isn’t out of the question seeing as how that falls on a Thursday this year, but at the very least, we should be looking at some point in early October.
Pre-orders for the Pixel 3 will likely open shortly after it’s announced that same day with shipments going out at least a couple of weeks later.
How much will the Pixel 3 cost?
Over the past couple years, pricing for Google’s Pixel phones has remained mostly the same. The MSRP for the Pixel and Pixel 2 series is as follows:
- Pixel w/ 32GB — $649
- Pixel w/ 128GB — $749
- Pixel 2 w/ 64GB — $649
- Pixel 2 w/ 128GB — $749
- Pixel XL w/ 32GB — $769
- Pixel XL w/ 128GB — $869
- Pixel 2 XL w/ 64GB —$849
- Pixel 2 XL w/ 128GB — $949
I imagine we’ll see similar numbers with the Pixel 3, but don’t be too surprised if we get a Pixel 3 XL variant that crosses the $1000 threshold.
Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL
- Pixel 2 FAQ: Everything you need to know!
- Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL review: The new standard
- Google Pixel 2 specs
- Google Pixel 2 vs. Pixel 2 XL: What’s the difference?
- Join our Pixel 2 forums
For this week’s giveaway, we’ve teamed up with Choetech to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a 7.5W Wireless Car Charging Mount that can be used to charge an iPhone X, iPhone 8, or iPhone 8 Plus in the car or at home.
Priced at $30, Choetech’s Wireless Car Charging Mount features a grippy suction cup base that can attach to a car’s dashboard or window, holding the iPhone at an ideal angle for viewing directions, listening to music, and more.
There are two expandable arms that can be adjusted to fit any iPhone or Android device (including in a case), while a rotating ball joint allows the smartphone to be placed in portrait or landscape orientation. An adjustable foot also holds the iPhone or another smartphone in the proper alignment for charging.
Faster 7.5W charging is supported using a QC 2.0 to 3.0 adapter, which is not included in the purchase price, with 5W charging available using other adapters. Depending on a car’s USB power output, 7.5W charging may not be supported. A USB-C port at the bottom provides power with the included USB-C to USB-A cable.
As with all Choetech wireless chargers, the Wireless Car Charging Mount features overheating, over-current, and over-voltage protection.
We have 20 of the Choetech Wireless Car Charging Mounts to give away. To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winners and send the prizes. You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page.
Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years or older and Canadian residents (excluding Quebec) who have reached the age of majority in their province or territory are eligible to enter. To offer feedback or get more information on the giveaway restrictions, please refer to our Site Feedback section, as that is where discussion of the rules will be redirected.
a Rafflecopter giveawayThe contest will run from today (August 17) at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time on August 24. The winners will be chosen randomly on August 24 and will be contacted by email. The winners will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before new winners are chosen.
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